Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) generally refers to one of two long-term inflammatory conditions:
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease affect over 300,000 people in the UK.
As with many bowel disorders, there are many people suffering in silence, afraid or embarrassed to seek help. Remember, you are not alone.
Symptoms of IBD vary case to case, but those that could relate to either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, include:
As is the nature of gastroenterological conditions, these symptoms could also relate to other digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Specialist diagnosis is vital to ensure you can get the correct treatment to help you better manage your symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and the type of colitis predominantly links to the location of the inflammation.
Ulcerative proctitis is located at the end of the colon closest to the anus (+)
Proctosigmviditis affects the lower end of the colon and the rectum
Left-sided colitis causes the inflammation to descend through the colon from the rectum
Pancolitis may affect the entire colon and symptoms can be severe
Acute severe ulcerative colitis affects the whole length of the colon
Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive system, unlike colitis. However, it most commonly affects the last part of the small intestine, called the ileum, or the large intestine, also known as the colon.
The inflammation can cause the skin around the anus to become sore and itchy and scarring inside the colon can cause a narrowing of the pathway, a condition known as fibrostenosis, which when severe can lead to blockages.
There is no cure for IBD, but treatment is available to help ease the symptoms. Adapting diet and lifestyle may also help in the first instance, particularly for cases where the symptoms are mild.
Medicines can be prescribed to treat both Crohn’s disease and colitis, although around 20% of people taking medication report it doesn’t help.
Colorectal surgery is therefore the only option, to remove the part of the colon that is inflamed.
Surgery is necessary for between 60 and 75 percent of Crohn’s disease sufferers, where the damaged digestive system can be repaired or removed.
For many years patients have been coming to Dr Anton Bungay for expert advice regarding the prevention and treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
Feel reassured that you are not alone and that specialist help is available.